Objectives: To investigate the impact of long-term orally administered probiotic strain Enterococcus faecium (EF) M-74 enriched with selenium on lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDH, HDL, and triglycerides) in humans.
Background: The discovery that hypercholesterolemia plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis has led to a number of pharmacological and non-pharmacological (including dietary) approaches resulting in its elimination. Up to now, the question of supposed hypocholesterolemic effect of probiotics has not been definitely established.
Methods: 43 volunteers were randomized into two groups. Participants were given single capsule a day containing 2x10(9) of EF M-74 plus 50 microg of organically bound selenium (E-group) or placebo (P-group). The study was double-blind and lasted 60 weeks. Peripheral blood was analyzed for lipid parameters before intervention, after 6, 12, 23, 44, and 56 weeks of capsule administration, and four weeks following interruption of administration.
Results: After 56 weeks of application, decrease in total cholesterol in E-group (17/3 women/men, mean age 75.4+/-1.5 year) was observed (5.94+/-0.29 mmol/l at week 0 vs 5.22+/-0.25 mmol/l after 56 weeks, p<0.001). This reduction was achieved mainly due to a fall in LDL cholesterol (3.85+/-0.27 vs 3.09+/-0.21 mmol/l, p<0.001), as no significant alterations in HDL and triglycerides were noted. In placebo group (14/4, 78.1+/-1.7 year), no statistically important changes were observed after one-year capsule administration.
Conclusions: In our study, the administration of E. faecium M-74 probiotic strain was associated with reduction of serum cholesterol concentration by 12% after 56 weeks. The crescent amount of facts on this issue gives a solid reason to assume that probiotics will find their place as a therapeutic alternative in human medicine. (Tab. 4, Fig. 4, Ref: 36.)